GovLoop orchestrated another splendid event on September 17 in Washington DC — “The Agency of the Future is Here”. Though geared with govies (aka feds) in mind, GovLoop plays to a broader crowd with their superbly selected speakers, trending topics, and compelling case studies. Prospective government contractors may want to follow GovLoop, sign up for their emails and participate in the forums and discussions. This is certainly one site where one may discover that solutions for getting into the government begin with getting to know the govies.
The first speaker, Dr. David Bray, began the lively morning with a deep dive into the subject of leadership and its importance in this age of disruption and uncertainty in leading change. Dr. Bray’s reflections were personal – he was not speaking in his official capacity as the CIO of the Federal Communications Commission. Interestingly his talk had little to do with his field – technology – and more to do with the human beings driving and adapting to technology, whether in government, industry, or in the public sector.
Leading change in our rapidly evolving environment requires a shift from old standards (e.g. authoritarian model) to the servant leadership model. The characteristics of servant leadership are simple, yet profound…they answer questions such as: How can I help? How can I be of assistance? The benefits of servant leadership far outlast the short-term benefits of charismatic leadership and they can be transformational.
Connecting As We Propel Into The Future
Besides having passion for improving our world, or some component thereof, leaders must personally care for and develop themselves outside of their chosen fields. Indeed pursuing ‘other than work’ passions is vital for energy restoration. Dr. Bray’s chosen passion is Habitat for Humanity and the benefits he derives from his efforts there reflect in his positive attitude. He urges govies and others during these difficult times (sequestration, et al) to find something they can pursue outside of work that will help develop and maintain a healthy perspective. Finding and exemplifying joy is important for today’s leaders. Ongoing uncertainty, budget cuts, furloughs, etc. can result in low morale; by nurturing a healthy environment leaders can inspire people forward. Additionally, he spoke of the importance to the leader in stepping away from the office, meeting people outside of their normal circle, developing friendships and thus benefiting from an expanded view.
All of these good tips yield to a more flexible, focused and creative leader able to persevere with his people for broad benefit. While Dr. Bray was in Afghanistan he picked up on the motto “Semper Gumby” which means always flexible. That ‘s the way it needs to be as we propel into the future. Rigidity in leadership is out…adaptability and resilience – traits that exemplify many in our armed forces – will pave the way forward. Whether one is a govie, a titan of industry, or a small business owner, we’ll all benefit from the changing environment if we collaborate and connect together with one another in mind.